Jazz, September 2021

hfnalbum.pngBob Mintzer & Wdr Big Band Cologne
Jazzline D77082; 2LPs: D78082

In the early days of CD, Mintzer first reached the ears of audiophiles with Camouflage on the digital-recording label DMP. A member of Yellowjackets since 1990, he's also a formidable composer and arranger who's been chief conductor of the WDR band since 2016. These two worlds met last year with the fusion band's WDR collaboration Jackets XL [Mack Avenue]. But here Mintzer leads the Cologne orchestra in ten new arrangements of his own music, with some fresh, engaging tunes in flavours from Afro-Cuban to swing – to, in one piece, what Mintzer whimsically describes as 'atonal funk'. We hear him on tenor sax and EWI but there's plenty of scope for the WDR band's own outstanding soloists too. SH


Dave Holland
Another Land
Edition Records EDN1172; 2LPs: EDNLP1172

Living-legend bassist Dave Holland has formed a solid touring partnership with virtuoso guitarist Kevin Eubanks, once of Saturday Night Live fame. Completing their high-energy trio here on Holland's first release for Edition is the exciting and versatile New York-based drummer Obed Calvaire. The opening 'Grave Walker' is a cobweb-dispelling blast of funk that belies its name but it's followed by the album's supple and atmospheric title tune, with Eubanks' glossy guitar slipping smoothly over a rhythmically-deceptive bass figure. There are more other-worldly sounds later, often resolving into bluesy, rocking grooves that you'll love to slide into. SH


Vijay Iyer, Linda May Han Oh, Tyshawn Sorey
ECM Records 3520696; 2LPs: 3536241

It's six years since Break Stuff, the last of the pianist's three albums with an earlier trio, but he's been working with the current lineup since 2019. Drummer Tyshawn Sorey is a colleague of many projects while bassist Linda May Han Oh is a new collaborator and a fine soloist. Iyer's own pieces often address social issues, eg, 'Children Of Flint' refers to the Michigan lead-poisoning scandal, while 'Combat Breathing' was written at the start of the BLM movement. The album's title is also that of a 2011 ballet Iyer scored, but although the word now seems 'too mild for cataclysmic times', his music brings peace and calm. SH


Nigel Price Organ Trio
Wes Reimagined
Ubuntu Music UBU0080 (CD and LP)

It was Wes Montgomery's Movin' Along that inspired a young Nigel Price to move on from rock and fusion. Here you get that album's title tune and others of Wes's in a heartfelt but never slavish tribute. You get more than an Organ Trio too. Along with Ross Stanley's Hammond brilliance and the drums of Joel Barford come the tenor sax of Vasilis Xenopoulos (a cohort in Price's XPQ quartet and other projects), the alto of Tony Kofi and three string arrangements by Callum Au. To finish, Price flawlessly reprises Wes's 'Accustomed To Her Face' solo from Full House to launch a full-blown finale with all his forces. A great British guitarist here at his very best. SH